Personal Finance 

How Much Is A Gold Ingot Bar Worth?

400 ounce London Good Delivery Gold BarI was watching the pilot of Royal Pains, a television show about a doctor who gets fired and, through a bit of luck and opportunism, opens up shop to the rich and famous of the Hamptons. Anyway, in the pilot, he helps someone at a party and the person who owns the home, a royal from Europe, gives him a bar of gold.

That’s when I realized I have no idea how many “ounces” are in a bar of gold, let alone how much a bar of gold is worth.

I’m a personal finance blogger… how could I not know that??? 🙂

So I found out.

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How To Sell Your Gold Jewelry

Ring Display at Jewelry StoreIf you’ve considered selling some of your unused gold jewelry for some cash at $900+ an ounce, you might be in for a very rude awakening. Selling gold jewelry is pretty easy, even if you spend the extra time to avoid the scam artists and rip-offs, but the reality is that whatever you sell will be melted down and the gold will be reused. Since it will be melted and reused, you will only be paid for for the gold in the piece minus whatever markup and fees that the buyer has. $900 an ounce sounds pretty good, but you won’t get anything near that for typical pieces of jewelry.

How Much Is It Worth?

Well, you basically are getting the spot price of gold minus a cut if you go the gold route. 24-karat gold is pure gold. You’ll get the full weight of the piece if it’s 24K gold. 18K is 75% gold, etc. Anything with 10-karats or more will have a stamp on it, anything less and you’re probably out of luck in terms of selling it as gold.

If the piece is especially ornate or shows craftsmanship, it may be worth more than its weight in gold. In those cases, you’ll want to get it appraised and try to sell it as a piece rather than as gold. It requires more time and more effort but you might get a lot more.

Where To Sell It?

Here’s where it pays to shop around, just as if you were buying it in the first place. Think of it as comparison selling. You’ll likely get the least at pawn shops and probably the most at jewelry stores. Try to go with someone with a reputation, that way you know you won’t get cheated on the scale or something else. Reputation in the jewelry business is everything.

One thing about all those infomercials or magazine advertisements of companies asking you to ship them your gold pieces for cash, avoid these unless you can verify their reputation. Sending anything through the mail is risky, sending hundreds of dollars to a stranger is simply foolish. As you can expect in any industry dealing with high dollar items, there’s plenty of fraud so you always have to be on your feet.

Selling Process

There’s some lingo involved in selling gold and here’s a primer so it doesn’t fly by you in a rush. Precious metal jewelry is measured in either pennyweights (DWT) or in grams (GR). An ounce of gold is a troy ounce and there are 20 pennyweights or 31.1 grams per troy ounce. When you go to sell, the buyer will tell you the price in dollars per pennyweight (that’s their daily price) as well as the weight of the piece prior to the transaction. So, if you bring something in that weights 10 pennyweights and they’re paying $45 per pennyweight, then the 10.0 DWT piece at $45/DWT is a $450 sale. They may also have higher daily prices based on volume and avoid buyers who won’t tell you this beforehand.

That’s basically it!

Here are some useful resources if you’re considering selling gold jewelry:

(Photo: Pink Moose)

 Devil's Advocate 

Time The Stock Market!

Devils Advocate Logo
This is a Devil's Advocate post.

Screw the experts, screw the planners, screw all those smart people who told you that you shouldn’t the time the market. Timing the market is the name of the game! Why wouldn’t you use all of the available information to your advantage? Why buy shares each and every month if the sky is falling? While I respect the thinking that the averages work out over the long run, reality is that no one lives in the long run and you can’t keep throwing good money after bad. If something is a bad investment, the experts say forget the sunk cost and cut loose. So if the stock market is a bad investment, why do they argue that you should keep investing when the smart money says you should take a break?

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How Much Is An Olympic Medal Worth?

2008 Beijing OlympicsIf you ask an Olympian, the answer is that the medal is priceless.

If you ask the governments of countries, the answer is in the millions.

If you ask someone who is interested only in the precious metals in the medals, the answer is a little more pedestrian.

While the gold, silver, and bronze medals of each Olympiad are unique in their design, the IOC has minimum standards for medal composition. The Beijing medals are 70mm in diameter and 6mm in thickness, which is 10mm wider and 3mm thicker than IOC requirements. The IOC requires that the gold medal be made of pure silver and gilded with at least 6 grams of gold. They also have a fair amount of jade integrated into the design. Since there are no reports as to the actual composition of the medal, with respect to jade versus the precious medals, for simplicity I’ll assume the medals are 700mm x 6mm of 92.5% silver and six grams of gold (for gold, and 100% silver for silver). It’s a bit inaccurate but I think we can make do!

Six grams of gold is worth approximately $160 at average prices today and the other 92.5% of the silver is worth at about $60, again assuming average prices. A total price for the gold at $220 puts it higher than previous years in sheer previous metal values.

Or we could cheat and read reports on China spending $1.24M on the six thousand medals, making them an average of $206.66 each. priced the cost of a gold medal at $393 though this probably includes design, manufacturing and shipping. Compare this to Athens in 2000 when each medal cost $155 and you see how much of an impact gold prices have been.

So pretty!

2008 Beijing Olympic Medals: Front w. Ribbon

2008 Beijing Olympic Medals: Back w. Ribbon

Medals of Beijing Olympic Games unveiled (with detailed photos of the medals) [Beijing 2008]


Review: Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki

Financial IQ by Robert KiyosakiI think Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki is a good “big financial picture” book that can help some re-frame the way they think about money and the impact money has on their lives. He talks about various Financial IQs and how the rules of money has changed, all of which are important ideas to think about. I’m not saying he’s right, but he certainly raises questions that require additional investigation. I don’t think you should take anyone’s opinions, and that’s what a book like this is really about, as pure gospel without reviewing the details for yourself. For an example of this, let’s take a look at one of the rules that have changed, according to Kiyosaki.

Gold Standard

Kiyosaki repeatedly states that the rules of money changed in 1971. 1971 was the year that President Nixon took the United States off the gold standard. Kiyosaki goes on to explain how that turned our dollars from “money” to “currency,” and how all currencies will eventually move towards being worthless. Besides being a little inflammatory and doomsday-ish, the point is somewhat valid as the concept of inflation is just that – our money is worth less and less each year. Is this true?

If every nation’s money is pegged to gold, what you have are pieces of paper worth exchangeable for different amounts of gold. If you have that, then exchange rates are all fixed and there is no inflation. What ends up happening is that instead of inflation handling the differing growth rates in countries, you would have a shifting of gold reserves. If a country’s gold reserves go down, then you end up deflating and have to pay people less and then they can’t pay their debts and all sorts of bad things happen (at least according to this interesting article by Peter Bernstein. So… while inflation seems bad, it’s not as bad as deflation. So, the lesson of the day is to trust but verify. 🙂

Financial IQ’s

The five basic financial IQs are:

  1. Making more money.
  2. Protecting your money.
  3. Budgeting your money.
  4. Leveraging your money.
  5. Improving your financial information.

The importance of these financial IQs is that these are the five areas you need to educate yourself on about money, having a high IQ in one area does not mean you have a high IQ in any of the others. Just because you’re good at making money doesn’t mean you’re good at protecting it or leveraging it. I think we can all agree with that but we’d also agree that this is hardly groundbreaking information. Let’s take a look at the first Financial IQ: Making more money.

IQ #1. Make more money!

The key to making more money is learning from your mistakes and solving your problems. Kiyosaki begins this chapter with stories of his younger years as he left a lucrative job as a third mate on an oil tanker to enlist in the Marines for Vietnam, then opting to become a Xerox salesman rather than return the oil business so that he could pursue the path of entrepreneurship. He goes on to explain the rest of his successes and failures with the point being that you have to learn from your mistakes in order to find the right path for you. (there’s also a little bit of Seth Godin’s The Dip in there, where you don’t settle for your local maximum)

Many of the other chapters are like this, very high level, and it’s something that JD of Get Rich Slowly complained about in our chat the other day. The problem with being at such a high level is that it requires the reader to bring it down to the street level, where you take those ideas and act on them. If I remember correctly, JD wasn’t a big fan of that because sometimes we need actionable advice and this book just doesn’t deliver on it.

I have a different take, I appreciate the high level look and brain stimulation. I never thought about the impact of coming off the gold standard (I am only 27) and some of the other viewpoints brought on by Kiyosaki and so I welcome the ideas he’s pushing. Some of them aren’t too groundbreaking, but some of them do intrigue me.

If you’re looking for or need a step by step guide or something like that, I don’t think you’ll like this book very much. If you are looking for something high level, I think this one may stir up your brain a little and get those juices flowing.


Price of Olympic Medals

While the host city’s organizing committee is responsible for the design of the gold, silver, and bronze medals, the specifications of those medals must conform to the IOC’s specifications. All the medals have to be at least 60 millimeters in diameter and three millimeters thick. Gold and silver have to be made of 92.5% pure silver with the gold gilded with at least six grams of gold. So how much should one of these babies costs? My calculations put the minimum cost of the precious medals in an Olympic gold at $138.24 and for the Olympic silver at $25.60.

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